- Writing a Business Plan
- Financial Statements
- Business Forecasting
- Business Checklist
3. FORECASTED CASH FLOW STATEMENTS
The next statement to appear in the financial plan is your Forecasted Cash-flow Statement. The Cash Flow Statement is a tool used to forecast the movement of cash into and out-off the business. The movement of cash into a company may result from sales to customers, cash from investors, cash from bank loans, cash from the owners, cash from interest earned, cash from commission sales, or from any other source that provides cash to the business. The movement of cash out-off the company might include items such as advertising, wages and salaries, inventory purchases, payment on taxes, payment on business loans, utilities, owner withdrawals, rent, dividends, and so on.
Without the necessary cash, a business will not survive. Therefore, a forecasted cash flow statement is constructed to determine if an entrepreneur's business will have enough cash to carry out the day to day (month to month) operations.
A cash flow statement can be organized on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly bases. Most bankers and other investors, however, prefer a monthly cash flow statement for a three year period. In other words, you will be required to develop three forecasted cashflow statements, each consisting of a twelve month period.
This may seem overwhelming at first, but with the aid of a spreadsheet program such as Lotus 123 or Excel, the task becomes rather simple. If you do not have a spreadsheet program, you are advised to purchase one and learn how it operates - It is an invaluable business tool that will save you lots of time and money.
Below provides an example of J&B's forecasted cashflow statement for a three year period. (please note: normally each annual cashflow statement is constructed in a spreadsheet program and consists of a twelve month forecasted period. Due to the margins of this program, we are unable to place twelve columns on one page. As a result, we have used two pages for each year to illustrate J&B's annual forecasted cash flow statement).
As you can see, the above forecasted cash flow statements project J&B's cash inflows (from customers, from a bank loan and investors) and all expected cash outflow (for purchases of inventory, for advertising, for rent etc,) each month for thirty-six months. The inflows and outflows are subtracted and the difference is known as the Net Cash Flow (Deficiency). The cash at the beginning of the month is then added to the Net Cash Flow (Deficiency) to produce the Ending Cash Balance for the month.
Notice at the beginning of each cash flow statement, an ASSUMPTION section has been used. This assists the reader (investor) in understanding how the entrepreneur arrived at various values throughout the Cash Flow Statement (optional).
Also notice: after some of the account items, a note and a number is stated. These numbers refer to the Notes to the Financial Statements and allow readers (investors) the opportunity to see how J&B arrived at each account balance or value. This will become more apparent later on as we discuss Part C of the Financial Plan entitled "Notes to the Forecasted Financial Statements".
We can not stress enough that you should have three cash flow statements; one for each forecasted year. In addition, each cash flow statement will consist of a twelve month forecasted period; for a total of thirty-six months.
This concludes our discussion on how your forecasted cash flow statement should appear in the Financial Plan. Remember, it is imperative to understand the theory behind the cash flow statement before attempting to forecast your own. To learn more about this statement, please refer to the section entitled "The Cash-Flow Statement". When you understand the theory behind each financial statement and analysis, you will be equipped with the necessary tools needed to Forecast Your Own Forecasted Financial Statements.